SHELDON—Having six people write his name down on a ballot during the Tuesday, May 21, special municipal election in Sheldon was encouraging for Caleb Schreurs.
The 19-year-old’s campaign basically amounted to posts on Instagram and Twitter and wearing a black and gray hat that he placed a piece of blank masking tape in the center of and wrote “Caleb For Council” on in black marker.
“I tweeted like 30 times and I had one sign in the back of my car and I got six total votes,” Caleb said.
“If two years down the road I get actual signs up and maybe speak instead of tweet and do it as something I am legitimately interested in and want, I think there’s something there.”
As he noted, his most significant campaign item was a rebranded version of one of his father’s old yards signs. Caleb’s father, by the way, is Micah Schreurs, a former two-term O’Brien County attorney.
Again, using blank masking tape to customize, the sign read “Write In Caleb Schreurs Sheldon Council” with his first name firmly planted over where his father’s moniker was positioned.
The younger Schreurs had a hand in his father winning his first race in 2010.
“He was my campaign manager,” Micah said.
Caleb looks back on the experience fondly. His father was running against incumbent Bruce Green of Primghar in the Republican primary and Green had been county attorney since 1979.
“I was home-schooled at the time, so I went all across O’Brien County and I got to interact with a lot people and be part of that political process,” Caleb said. “It sparked something.”
When he did start attending Unity Christian High School in Orange City, Caleb became student body president for two years and was on student council all four years.
At Dordt University in Sioux Center — he is studying to become a history teacher — he is the vice president of the Future Active Christian Teachers Club.
“That’s a very busy position — all those things were — but I very much enjoyed them,” Caleb said. “On the national level, I’ve always paid attention to politics really closely, but just being involved with things I agree with and especially things I disagree with and being vocal about both is very important for myself as just a citizen of the United States and to take part in it is a really unique opportunity that we have.”
Caleb’s interest in being part of the Sheldon government came started in May 2017.
At the time, he asked his Twitter followers a simple question: “Hey so if an 18 year old ran for mayor/city council would you vote for them? Not asking for any particular reason . . .”
Attached to the tweet was a poll with two options: “Yes, because democracy” and “No, go back to studying.”
Much to his surprise, 72 percent of voters told Caleb he should go for it and he sort of almost did this time around during Sheldon’s three-month mayoral saga.
Shortly after former Sheldon mayor Tricia Meendering resigned on Feb. 20, the Sheldon City Council asked people interested in replacing her by appointment to submit letters of interest to the city office.
Caleb never formally submitted a letter of interest due to the obvious conflict of interest — his father is Sheldon’s city attorney — however, the younger Schreurs continued to half-jokingly campaign on Twitter for the post.
When the special election was announced, Caleb continued his Twitter campaign and even held a Q&A on Instagram with his followers — most of whom are in his age range — to see what they wanted out of local government.
Jokes and halfhearted social media posts aside, Caleb’s interest in politics in real.
“I definitely hope to run for something above city government in the future; it would be awesome,” he said.
“Everyone starts somewhere. Bernie (Sanders) was a mayor before he was a senator and now he’s a presidential candidate. Everyone starts somewhere.”